Personal Research Interests Include Early Childhood and After-school Programs
Kim Pierce, Ph.D
Director of Research

Irvine, Calif., July 1, 2009

Kim Pierce is the Director of Research in the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a Human Development concentration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At UC Irvine, Dr. Pierce works to meet faculty and student needs for support in their research endeavors, as well as manage assessment and evaluation activities for both internal and external entities. She investigates funding opportunities; assists with proposal preparation; reviews IRB protocols prior to submission to facilitate timely approvals; and collaborates with Department colleagues to meet assessment goals related to program accreditation from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

As a graduate student, Dr. Pierce was involved in early protocol development and the first two years of data collection for the NICHD Study of Early Child Care & Youth Development, a 10-site longitudinal study that enrolled children (and their families) at birth and examined their experiences in family, child care, school, out-of-school, and neighborhood contexts, and links between these experiences and the children’s developmental outcomes. She later rejoined the study as the coordinator for the Wisconsin site, managing the project from the time the study participants were in first grade through 15 years of age. For the past 5 years, she has served as an instructor for American Psychological Association Advanced Training Institutes to train other researchers to use the study data set.

Dr. Pierce also co-directed several studies of after-school programs at UW-Madison. One project was a 5-year study of after-school programs in which participants in community-based programs were followed from first grade through fifth grade. This study was among the first to examine quality in after-school programs and to document associations between specific program features and children’s academic, social, and behavioral outcomes. A second project, the Study of Promising After-School Programs, was conducted nationally in elementary and middle school programs serving low-income children and youth. The findings indicated that regular participation in high-quality programs, either singularly or in conjunction with other enrichment activities, is linked to improvements in children’s academic and social outcomes as well as reductions in misconduct and substance use. A third study involved a 4-year evaluation of Safe Haven after-school programs operated by the City of Madison, Wisconsin.

At UC Irvine, in addition to her work as Director of Research, Dr. Pierce works with Deborah Lowe Vandell, Chair of the Department of Education, on follow-up projects for both the Study of Early Child Care & Youth Development and the Study of Promising After-School Programs.

Dr. Pierce is a Wisconsin native who was raised in Onalaska (the Sunfish Capitol of the World), located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. She maintains her loyalties to the Green Bay Packers but in a pinch will silently root for the San Diego Chargers. Since her move to Irvine two years ago, she has enjoyed some surprises (The people at UC Irvine are really nice!), sought answers to new questions (Why are there so many silver and gray cars here?), and wondered why Southern Californians don’t seem to know or care about cheese curds and lefse.